The New Helzberg’s Ad: What’s It Trying to Say?

After a week or so of looking at so many diamond-themed TV commercials, most of which look pretty much interchangeable, I was very amused by this ad from Helzberg’s:

Now one female friend of mine was offended at this commercial, saying the message was: “Yeah, you’re stupid and can’t express yourself.  Buy her a diamond and that’ll do the trick.” That might be a common sentiment; see the comments here.

Being (somewhat) in the target demo, I read it differently. Take a look at the latest De Beers commercial, which takes a more traditional approach:

That ad is aimed at both sexes, and is aspirational. The message here is, buy a diamond, and you’ll be as attractive to your lady as that guy in the car.

Now, this obviously works.  But of course, some guys may feel they can never be that guy. They may have never been to New York; they may never even have ridden in a taxicab. They certainly don’t look as good as that guy in a suit and lack his exquisite sense of timing. (Which is okay, ’cause that guy is a little annoying anyway.) They are, as the Helzberg commercial says, “regular guys.”

So how do they deal with their failure to measure up to that (or any other) romantic ideal? After all, there may be annoying guys like that out there, who know exactly how to do the right thing. Now a regular guy could try and  give a diamond, but diamonds are complicated — what if they screw up, buy the wrong thing, and end up looking even stupider?  That is where Helzberg’s comes in. It is the “regular guy’s” jewelry store.   They may not turn you into that guy — in fact, they kind of laugh at guys like that — but they will get you close enough, and on your own terms. 

It is almost as if the first commercial subverts the imagery of the second one — while at the same time, delivering the exact same message. And, of course, you can’t really imagine the Helzberg’s commercial without the groundwork laid by De Beers.

All in all, it seems like a really smart ad. What do you think?

JCK News Director